With India’s Kishanganga dam drying up yet another river in Pakistan, the need for better water management and new dams in more intense now than ever. With many politicians openly opposing the construction of dams and the rest cowering in their holes, the CJP Justice Saqib Nisar has yet again stepped forth to protect the future of the country and its inhabitants. Announcing the construction of two dams, the Diamer Basha and the Mohmand, Justice Saqib Nisar started a fundraising to provide resources for the construction of the dam. A committee was formed under the chairmanship of WAPDA to overlook the construction.
Moreover, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar initiated the donation process by announcing Rs1 million donation for the cause during the hearing of the case pertaining to the construction of Kalabagh dam.
“It was said that ‘even the Supreme Court’s father’ cannot construct dams,” the CJP noted, reminding the naysayers that the Constitution had given the court the power to make it happen. He hoped that the people would show the same passion and love for their country as they showed in the 1965 War and battle the issues they face against all odds.
Earlier, court aide Mujeeb Pirzada said that only the benefits of Kalabagh dam were being described ignoring the fact that there were some serious demerits to its construction. Pirzada explained that the construction of the dam would mean that the supply of water to other areas would be affected. He also claimed that the construction of Kalabagh dam would adversely impact sugarcane and rice production.
“But dams are the nation’s need and we need to build them,” the CJP responded at Pirzada’s concerns about livelihoods of farmers being affected because of the dam.
Meanwhile, the secretary finance urged the court to issue an order to increase the price of water for agriculture to Rs1,500 per acre which, he said, would bring annual revenues of Rs70 billion which could be used to construct a dam in 10 years. Reports suggested that Pakistan can currently store 13.7 MAF (million acre-feet) of the 138 MAF of water passing through it daily. The new dams would increase the capacity by 7 MAF, the nations need standing at 25 MAF daily.
The details regarding the dams are:
To be built in KP and Gilgit-Baltistan falling in Kohistan and Bhasha areas. Will have the capacity to store 6.4 MAF of water and create 4,500MW electricity.
To be built on Swat river in Manda area, it will have the capacity to store 0.676 MAF of water and create 800MW electricity.
Justice Saqib Nisar also commented about Rs. 900 billion of expected aid from a secret source. During his briefing, former Wapda chairman Shamsul Mulk said that while 46,000 dams had been constructed in the past century across the globe, Pakistan had only constructed three. The chief justice asked him whether the construction of Kalabagh was inevitable, at which Mulk responded that Kalabagh dam was the need of the hour for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Because of the dam being too controversial, the CJP decided to focus on the other two dams right now.
All army and government officials are donating parts or whole of their salaries for the dam fund. People can also deposit their donations in the branches of National Bank of Pakistan.
The people can donate Rs10 to the Supreme Court fund established for construction of Diamer Basha and Mohmand dams by sending SMS from mobile phones to 8000.
The user shall type “dam” and send SMS to 8000 and an amount of Rs10 will be deducted for the Supreme Court of Pakistan Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dam Fund. The user will also receive a confirmation message.
Currently, almost 190 million Rupees have been raised.